"SCOTLAND will continue to use the pound sterling at the point of independence, establishing an independent Scottish currency as soon as is practicably possible through a careful, managed and responsible transition when an independent Scottish Parliament chooses to do so.”

In the same week as the First Minister set out the case for independence in a new way, Wee Willie Rennie thought he would try to be clever. He came to the parliamentary Chamber and asked Angus Robertson what the Scottish Government’s policy for the currency of an independent Scotland might be.

The 40 words of Mr Robertson’s answer should have made the front page of The National. They change the terms of the independence debate much more than the “Independence in the Modern World” paper.

Yes, it will be necessary for Scotland to use sterling for a short period. But the country will acquire its own currency quickly, with the government of Scotland ensuring that this will be possible at the time chosen by Scotland’s sovereign Parliament.

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At times, I have been worried that I might be boring readers by insisting that currency arrangements matter.

When I read my mother’s copy of The Herald, being unwilling to get beyond the paywall just to dive into deeply Unionist thinking, currency comes up as one of the real problems from 2014 which neither the Scottish Government nor the broader independence movement, has addressed – currency is a useful fault line for the Unionists.

We all use money. Few of us understand it well. If there is any uncertainty about how we will use money after independence – not just the currency we use, but the management of banks and the payments system, the international value of the Scottish currency, and the prudence of the public finances – Scotland will look at independence prospectus, and once again say, “no, thanks.” (By the way – it was a cunning move to ask the question “Why not Scotland?” in the comparison with small, successful countries.

Once the full-blown campaign gets under way, that could easily turn into the hard-to-refuse invitation, of “Why not, Scotland?” against a backdrop of Brexiting Boris in full, mendacious Union Jackery.)

Back to currency. There are some very small countries, with simple economies, which do not issue their own currencies.

Thinking purely about the economic arrangements, it should be possible for Scotland to carry on using the pound after independence for some time. Scotland and England have very closely related economies, so that a common currency should be easy to implement.

Politically though, this makes absolutely no sense. There could be some very messy negotiations, with the UK government insisting that Scotland’s central bank would have to be subject to Bank of England oversight. Otherwise, English politicians will assert that policy divergence between Scotland and the remainder of the former UK could destabilise the English economy – that’s the Brexiteers’ job.

Much better for Scotland to become a currency issuer, so that its government has all the tools of monetary policy available to it.

In a crisis, Scotland could then be like the UK after the financial crisis, and, when needed, stabilise the economy with much less unemployment – and so with much less suffering – than expected (even if there was not nearly enough of either among senior bankers in 2008).

Monetary policy also came to the fore in the Covid pandemic, with furlough payments and other programmes preventing the economy from seizing up completely.

To make clear Scotland will acquire those capabilities, Angus Robertson gave that brief, clear answer. Peerie Willie clearly wasn’t listening and went through a carefully scripted rant which The Scotsman picked up.

Let the Unionists play to the gallery and nurse their grievances. The substance was left in the parliamentary record, for nerds

to pick over. That 40-word answer to Willie Rennie’s question was simply a statement of principle. There are still many details about how Scotland decides to issue its currency, and addressing them will require a full briefing paper from the Scottish Government or organisations such as the Scottish Currency Group.

Interestingly, in setting out the principle, the Scottish Government has simply caught up with the SNP’s existing policy on currency.

Much as there are many impressive thinkers within the civil service and the Scottish Government, the independence movement has the capacity to challenge the Scottish Government to move more quickly and decisively on this matter.

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Several SNP branches have already agreed to submit a resolution to the National Conference in October, which “calls on the Scottish Government to commit to taking all measures needed to permit the introduction of a Scottish currency, including the establishment of a Scottish Central Bank during the transition period between a Yes vote and formal independence”.

This has the effect of setting out what might be possible. The Scottish Currency Group’s work indicates that it is possible to set up a central bank and a new currency in no more than five years.

Those who are reluctant for Scotland move quickly claim we must first have a reputation for prudence. Scotland should achieve fiscal balance and manage the issue of public debt before trying to become a currency issuer. They fear that financial investors will be loath to invest in Scotland.

That indecisiveness comes from a belief that Scotland cannot create these capabilities quickly. To which there is the obvious question: “Why not Scotland?”